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Why I Didn't Attend My High School Graduation Day

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Everyone remembers their high school graduation: the last day, graduation parties, and the walk to get your diploma. Except in my situation I decided to not walk for graduation. As a result of this, friends and family members were angry with me, but thinking back on all of it, I do not regret my decision one bit.

The days were counting down for the seniors for when they will finally break free of the abyss called high school. Parties were being thrown every weekend in the last month and the seniors were ready to graduate. Usually the seniors get out a whole week early after they graduate. This year however, two weeks before the graduation date, the principle came on the intercom saying, “Students of Westfield High School, good morning. I am sorry to say but I have bad news.” Everyone got very silent and started to get nervous. “We have a message for all the seniors that are graduating this year. According to the new Indiana state law, you seniors do not have enough credit hours to graduate and will have to attend school the last week of school. The graduation walk date will NOT be moved and you will be handed a blank piece of paper on stage. After the ceremony you may pick up your diploma one week after school ends at the school in the office. We have moved all the senior finals to the last week so you MUST attend school on the last week. Thank you all for listening. Go Shamrocks.” The click from the microphone was the cue for all the seniors to start the riot. Some yelled, “This is bull!” others were angry at the fact because, like me, they already had plane tickets to leave the day after graduation.

After a couple days went by, however, the seniors got over it and learned to deal with it. Everyone started to talk about how no one should walk because it would stupid to walk and not get your diploma the same day; I ended up being one of the only ones that followed through with it. According to other people, to walk from Westfield High was a BIG deal. I didn’t understand the whole walking across the stage scenario and why it was so important. Who cares who sees you? Who cares what you wear? Right?

I was so unhappy with the fact the state could just decide that our senior class wasn’t “qualified” to graduate a week early. I was also mad that as a result of that, a lot of students, me being one, had to cancel very expensive trips we had planned as a graduation vacation the day after our original scheduled graduation. The school claimed they couldn’t reschedule the graduation because our principle had “important” meetings to attend the week after.

I decided not to walk because I disagreed with walking and not earning a diploma. It all seemed very fake to me. There was no reason to be proud to walk onto a stage and receive what everyone knew was not real. People who weren’t even sure if they were passing were walking because no one took their finals yet. It was like everyone, even those who didn’t deserve it, just walked. It all seemed to be very pointless. I decided to do my own rebellion and not go. The rule was that if you weren’t going to walk onto the stage you have to tell the office and write your name on a list so they know to not call your name and wait for you. When I went up to the office and told the lady behind the desk, she seemed pretty shocked that I wasn’t going to walk. I started thinking to myself that it shouldn’t be that much of a shocker because a lot of students said they weren’t going to walk. But once she handed me the notepad that said “Students not walking” I was the one being shocked. There was only one other name on it. Everyone decided they were going to walk instead.

On the day the walk was supposed to happen I felt a lot of stares in the hallway and a lot of whispers echoing off the walls. People were appalled that I was not going to walk. Some people gave the speech about how “you only graduate high school ONCE” and that I would regret it forever if I don’t go. Some girls mentioned that if I don’t go then they will all assume that I am just not passing high school and that is the reason why I wasn’t walking.

Later that night I felt my heart race as it neared the time of the walk. I read on Facebook all the status updates of people saying they were getting ready for graduation walk and I started thinking of how it would be nice to get all pretty and dressed up one more time. But then I started to think, for what? Why would I get dressed up for walking on a stupid stage and receiving nothing? It was almost a joke and a tease to me. It was almost like being recognized and taking credit for something that I have not done. I mean no one for sure was passing high school yet. No one took their final exams yet so some undeserving people were walking on stage and receiving recognition that they did not deserve. I feel that you must deserve something to have it.

As the time crept closer, I started to feel better and better about my decision not to walk. My grandmother called me on the phone and yelled at me for not going to graduation, but she didn’t understand. At least my parents supported me understanding the circumstances. My dad did however decide to watch the graduation ceremony. It was kind of nice to see my friends excited and I was happy for them that they made the decision to go, it was what they wanted. I had other beliefs and I was happy with my decision.

Still to this day I am very happy that I did not go. It would have seemed like a waste of time. I learned that some of the people that went to my school relied on what others thought of them at graduation rather than their dignity and actually earning their diploma. I am glad I am not that kind of person. I have learned that I don’t need to be recognized for all of my achievements as long as I know in my own heart what I have accomplished and what I am capable of.

Remember: This is just a sample from a fellow student.

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Why I Didn’t Attend My High School Graduation Day. (2018, October 02). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 1, 2023, from
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